This season Intense chose to carry out the development of their new M29 in the most public way possible, placing the bike underneath their World Cup DH team members to see how it held up on the world stage. It's a tactic than ensures the bike attracts plenty of attention, while also allowing the team to put it to the test under pressure in a wide range of conditions.
The alloy version of the bike debuted at Fort William
, and more recently, Jack Moir showed up at Crankworx Whistler with the first carbon framed version. Jack's on that same bike for World Champs, although it's been customized with stickers and colored hardware to give it a little extra bit of Australian flair.
Pinkbike photographer Cameron Mackenzie caught up with Jack's mechanic, Chappy Fiene, to dive deeper into the details of the new bike.
What's the difference between this bike and the alloy versions we saw earlier in the season?
We went through a couple different iterations of the alloy prototype working out kinematics, and the final alloy proto was to work out sizing. This frame is 6mm longer than Jack's alloy one was. What you see here is what will be considered the Large carbon M29, and it's sized more or less like the size XL M16, actually a little bigger, so it's very big, meant for a large individual.
Dean's still on the alloy because that's a medium, and we're still working on the medium size with him; it seems like he's pretty happy where it's at right now. Once we work out carbon layout and a few other tweaks with the large then we'll open up the medium mold and continue on with that process as we go, because every size is going to have a different layup.
Right now we're really happy with what's going on with the bike. The fit and finish is great, especially for literally the first bike out of the mold; everything is really nice right now. We'll see what the future holds, but I think we're pretty set as it sits right here.
How much travel does the bike have? What about the head angle?
We're still working with 180 with the RockShox fork, and in the rear we've got roughly 208mm, it depends on a few little tweaks that we do with the bumpers and such. The head angle is in the 63 – 64 degree range, it depends on fork travel. We've found that to be a pretty good balance, and we'll see what the future holds with the fork and other components as we evolve through this whole 29 downhill thing. As we learn more and start to play with more and more things I think there's a lot of cool exciting things in the future.
What's the story behind the new linkage design?
The biggest problem with the 29er that we saw was trying to get the weight bias right, and one of the things that we saw was that the chainstays ended up way too long. We took it to the drawing board and looked at current ideas, and played with our own ideas, and came to this, basically to keep our same JS Tune system that we've been using on the M16 but obviously a little more refined.
It keeps things tucked up a lot closer to the BB, which basically gives us an 18” chainstay, which is pretty good for a 29”, 200-plus mil travel bike. That's the main focus, but the other added benefit is the stiffness of that lower link and that whole system with the concentric BB. It's really stiff, and it helps a lot with the deflection and things like that. It's enabled us to play a little bit with the stiffness of the top link – we don't have to be as gnarly with the really wide top link.
The suspension design holds true to the M16 and our new Tracer and the new Carbine, but the hard points are different, the kinematics are far different, leverage rate's different, leverage curve is different, axle path is different, so it may look aesthetically similar, but it's a totally different bike.
How does the suspension setup for Cairns vary from other tracks?
It's pretty similar to what we'd run at Leogang next year, so it works out kinda good. The knowledge that we gain from here on this particular bike means we'll go in to that race ahead of schedule.
Shock: 550 in/lb spring
Fork: 7.5 tokens, 95 psi
A number of riders are running remote lockouts this weekend - is there a reason Jack's not using one?
We're still playing with a couple things with a lockout shock, but on this bike in particular it doesn't feel like having the complication of a lockout on the bar is worth the benefit that we would get on this bike. With the jumps added to the speedway at the bottom I don't think it's as crucial, he's all happy with what he's got now. He's just going to hold it wide and see what happens.